Hubert Jones, of First, Memphis, scoops up a small boy during a game of duck duck goose in the Sparks Colonia.
Mexico (MNN) ― Kids Heart is a collaborative program between Buckner International and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF).
The partnership extends a development ministry into poverty-stricken communities in Mexico, not only for relationships, but also for life-changing hope. Most of their work has been in the colonias--unincorporated neighborhoods on both sides of the Mexico-United States border where the poor seek to live the dream of home ownership, often at the cost of poor living conditions.
After a needs assessment, Buckner identifies the community that needs the most help. CBF and Buckner then recruit churches and service organizations to take on the projects needed within those selected communities.
Border Ministries' coordinator, Jorge Zapata, says their construction work builds into a world of difference. "A mission team with one week advances seven years the life of a family in Colonia. When they come in and work with that family for a week, in that week, they build relationships. On the third day, these people start asking questions. 'Why are you helping me?' That's a big door to start sharing the Gospel."
He says the work team is made up from many different churches--some sending dozens, others sending a lone representative. When they arrive onsite, they begin their work, either building homes or churches, but always with interaction amongst the families of the community.
Participants also take part in daily devotionals, pass out humanitarian aid, lead Vacation Bible Schools or sports camps, and deliver the Gospel message to many children and families who long for the hope and healing offered through Jesus Christ.
The teams are the bridge between the community and the local church. They're coordinating another Kids Heart trip into the Rio Grand Valley next month. Zapata says: "At the end of the week, we have mom, dad, and the children all accepting Christ, because again, they showed so much love for them, and they care for them. I always tell them, 'We are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.'" If you want to participate or support, click here.